Twenty years ago, my husband and I were waiting for our first child. We didn’t know if we were getting a boy or a girl, but we knew he or she would arrive sometime around December 22nd. For reasons I couldn’t name and a few reasons I could, it felt right to let our child enter the world and our lives as a surprise. On December 25th, 1997, a baby boy came into our family.
Today, I have a better idea why I didn’t want to know the boy-or-girl answer in advance: I didn’t want to know or do something that would allow me to think that I could contain or manipulate something so mysterious and powerful as new life. I might have easily mistaken foreknowledge and proactive planning for control, treating a new child like my own possession. While many expectant parents I’ve known wouldn’t have made such a mistake, I believe I might have.
Advent is the same for me. I am waiting for a child, a gift of God that is not mine to name or squeeze into my personal schedule. It’s my month long preparation for the Mystery that is not my creation. I can’t lay claim to this child, but my life is this child’s to claim. If I don’t take my time, I may just fool myself into thinking I know all about God-With-Us.
Every day during Advent, you will find scripture readings and the prayerful offerings of many writers and artists. I hope you will wait with us, seeking the Mystery that claims us all.